Thursday, July 5, 2012

1/2Baked Stuff Others Told Me To Do In...(Piedmont)

Years ago I spoke to a very bright, articulate and well traveled guy who worked at a wine shop in California.  When it came time for my magical second trip to Paris, I asked him for some recommendations and he obliged with a wonderful list.  I followed it, longed to have the sophistication and familiarity with Paris that his list evidenced and felt deeply in his debt (I never repaid that debt, sadly).  Since then, I've obsessively made my own lists and asked many others for their recommendations and lists.  I started blogging, in part, to remember my own darn likes and, perhaps more importantly, dislikes (because I'll be damned if I ever let any friend of mine eat at the treacherous and malevolent Chez L'Ami Louis in Paris...okay, I won't forget that place because my reaction to how they treated us is so deeply burned into my brain, but I might forget the allegedly wonderful Thai place in the 6th arrondissement in Paris where roaches literally crawled out of our Phad Thai like passengers deboarding the Love Boat after a satisfying cruise).

In light of all this, my goal is to create some MVP (minimum viable product) blogposts that enable me to aggregate recommendations for a given spot, not refine or comment on the data, collect other reactions and data and then refine and edit over time. A "catch and release" for data on some great spots.  I hope people will comment on these 1/2Baked works in progress and enable me to refine, preferably before a trip and certainly after!

So here is what a smattering of wine geeks (mostly professional winemakers and some retailers and importers) have told me about Piedmont -- IN UNEDITED FORM -- SO I AM PARTICULARLY EAGER TO GET YOUR FEEDBACK AND SPECIFIC COMMENTS IF YOU'VE VISITED PLACES:

From my friend Dan, a great wine maker and Italy-lover:
A restaurant (and albergo/hotel) to consider in Monforte d'Alba - la Felicin.  I stayed there and ate there many years ago (2006).
Also, download the iPhone app - enogea. It is a great appellation breakdown of Piedmonte. The maps are by Alessandro Masnaghetti. The maps are distributed by Rare Wine Co.

From a fellow music lover who had just returned from Piedmont:
my best two meals in alba and surrounding region (from the 6 I had) were at

1. Piazza Duomo in downtown Alba (best to reserve esp. in high season - two star michelin)

make sure to order what they call Essenza di Finanziera (the finanziera i was explained is a local dish made with whatever meat scraps and discarded organs, the components vary from home to home).  Theirs was made of duck tongues and rabbit kidneys but served in a liver sauce.  You eat it with a spoon like baby food (for the rich and spoiled bambini).
Had one of their large tasting menus, their advertised 5/6 courses turned into 10 or 11 courses (the first four of which were hand-eaten). I ordered the wines selections tailored to the meal (something I usually do not like, I much prefer concentrating on a single bottle), but they opened some absolutely delicious, lesser-known things, including two or 3 whites from the region that were revelations.  You will like the closer by the way (if you like grappa).

2.  Vecchio Tre Stelle, Tre Stelle, Barbaresco (actually between alba and Barbaresco proper)
I had a few delicious things at this  restaurant in Barbaresco.  A remarkable cheese tray, a splendid quail/mushroom/black truffle/green salad, etc.  I was the only client there that lunch (mid week, off season, etc.), never a great feeling, and yet the food had a most charming, honest, fresh quality.  Not too heavy, which in that region is not so easily found.

3.  Avoid ANTINE in Barbaresco.  Dreadful meal. Michelin gave it a star.

From my friend J (winemaker):
Schiavenza has a great restaurant as well, called Schiavenza.  Very traditional wines and very good- worth checking out.  You should stay in La Morra or Barolo.  Everything is 15 minutes away from the next village, so it is easy to get around.
Another great restaurant that is in Barbaresco is Trattoria Antica Torre.  Small restaurant that our friend L... really liked.

From an importer:

Lunch – I had a great lunch at Borgo Antico (fancy) last November, or Trattoria dell Arco (Simple, classic) in Cissone is near your hotel and still has some older gems on the list. There’s also a fun wine bar up the hill from Monforte’s square called Casa del Saracca. The mains are week, but charcuterie is excellent and the wine list is deep (if young).

From the friend of a friend (wine importer)
a Serralunga 
•    Trattoria Schiavenza 0173 613115 chiuso ma
•    Ristorante Antico Podere TOTA VIRGINIA 0173 613026 chiuso ma
•    Il Boscareto Resort & SPA – Ristorante “La Rei”  0173 613036 chiuso la DO
•    Ristorante Trattoria del Castello. - Frazione Baudana, 16 Tel. 0173.61.33.75 chiuso me
Nei dintorni 
Serravalle: Trattoria la Coccinella 0173 748220 Chiuso il martedì e mercoledì a pranzo
Cravanzana Ristorante da Maurizio 0173 855019  Chiuso il mercoledì e giovedì a pranzo
Monforte :Il Giardino di Felicin 0173 78225 chiuso lu
        La Salita via marconi 2/a tel 0173787196 chiuso lu
La Morra :Ristorante Bovio via Alba 17 bis-017359303 chiuso lu
                    Osteria More e Macine via XX settembre 9 –tel 0173500395 chiuso ma
Cherasco : Osteria la Torre 0172 488458 Chiuso il lunedì
                   Trattoria Vineria Pane e Vino Reg. Moglia 12 0172 48910048 Chiuso il lunedì
Monchiero Bancobar loc borgonuovo 105 0173792312 chiuso domenica
Roddino :Agriturismo Iride Loc. Chiabotto, 1 tel 0173 794122
Treiso: Profumo di vino viale rimembranza 1 tel 0173638017 chiuso ma
Alba : Rist dell’Arco P.zza Savona tel. 0173 
           Rist. La Libera Via Pertinace, 24/A tel 0173 293155 Chiuso la do e lu a pranzo
           Arco s.a.s. di Enrico Crippa p.zza Risorgimento 4  tel. 0173366167 chiuso lu
Treiso : La Ciau del Tornavento P.zza Baracco, 7 tel 0173 638333 Chiuso me e gi a pranzo
Barolo :  Locanda nel Borgo Antico, loc: Boschetti 4, 12050 
Bergolo :Ristorante Il Bunet tel. 0173 87013 chiuso il martedì
Castiglione Falletto : Ristorante Le Torri tel. 0173 62849 chiuso il ma ed il me a pranzo
Guarene Osteria La Madernassa Loc. Lora, 2 Castelrotto di tel. 0173 611716 Chiuso il lunedì
Cervere: L’Antica Corona Reale da Renzo Via Fossano, 13 tel. 0172 474132 Chiuso me e ma sera
Dronero: Rosso Rubino p.zza Marconi 2 12025 tel 0171905678 chiuso lu
Robilante: Ristorante il Leon d’Oro P.zza Oliveto, 10 tel. 0171.78679 
Saluzzo: L’Ostu dij Baloss Via S.Bernardino 19, tel.0175 248292 Chiuso il lunedì
Carrù: Osteria del Borgo Via Garibaldi, 19 tel. 0173 759184 Chiuso mercoledì e martedì sera
             Hd da Ivan strada bordino 4 frazione frave tel. 0173759089 chiuso martedì
Briaglia :Trattoria Marsupino via roma 20 cn 0174563888 chiuso ME E GIO a pranzo

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